As the old adage says, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” That’s also what the avenging angel in Mark Jones’ new film Scorned literally says at one point, which should show you just how innovative this erotic thriller is. It seems like Scorned is grasping to be an edgy revenge flick, but its delivery simply falls flat. There are a couple of interesting moments that hold the audience’s interest and the whole thing is really sharp looking. In the end though there’s too many hiccups with this one to make it worth the watch.
A minute into the film, I was thinking, “A movie that starts off with Billy Zane tied to a chair can’t be all bad.” Trick was on me. Zane plays a wealthy two-timing cheater who chomps cigars and wears those comfortable looking shirts with the top four buttons undone. He’s been sleeping with his girl’s best friend on the side and while he may think he’s being slick about it, he’s not smart enough to delete old text messages. Sadie doesn’t take to cheating lightly, so she binds him to a chair and feeds him some of her anti-psychotic meds. From here she lures her best friend Jennifer over and gives the couple a romantic evening together – complete with torture, electroshock therapy, and tacos.
I kinda dug the premise to a certain extent. Sadie abuses and humiliates Kevin and Jen by forcing them to go through the steps of a romantic date night. I like that idea. It’s when the film starts to flashback to Sadie’s painful past that the film begins to go a bit off the rails. She was in a mental hospital as a kid, drowned her sister, wasn’t loved by her puppy – a litany of damaging events. This backstory fails to add any depth to the narrative, however. A lot of the reason is because AnnaLynne McCord (Sadie) isn’t a particularly good actress. She plays the horny, pixie-like southern seductress perfectly fine, but as a psycho she’s got some work to do.
Zane doesn’t get much room to breathe, but he works with what he’s got. Even when we first meet him, and he’s bleeding, tied to a chair, you don’t feel bad for him. He’s so good at being a prick! As Jennifer (Viva Bianca) is okay. She gets a few emotional moments that Bianca pulls off fine. There’s just nothing really noteworthy about the character.
The way Sadi puts together her alibi is beyond coincidental and absurd. She really doesn’t have an endgame, one kinda just falls in her lap. Or, I should say she falls in its lap. For those interested in watching the film, I won’t say any further. Just know it’s so dumb and everything wraps up a little too nicely for my tastes.
I’m a rabid fan of the erotic thriller genre, so I did like how Scorned flips the script a little on the well-worn structure of the genre. It begins with Sadie knowing about her man’s infidelity, for example, rather than build up to it. And she’s the crazy one, not the mistress. Overall it just didn’t do much for me because of the reasons said. Maybe if Jones had made it more straightforward, rather than give Sadie this traumatizing backstory so she has a reason to be psycho. Glenn Close didn’t need a reason in Fatal Attraction!
Scorned hits VOD and home video Feb. 4.
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